07 Oct, 2020

Manchester: One of the Fastest Growing Cities in Europe

2019 10 16 Manchester Wide

You only need to scan Manchester’s crane-packed skyline to understand why it’s considered to be one of Europe’s biggest growth hubs. Robust and sustained investment in the city’s built environment remains the most tangible indicator of its evolution into a national and international economic powerhouse.

Testament to this, and Manchester’s resilience during uncertain times, the City Council announced over £1bn worth of new schemes in September 2020.

Major developments, including a second events arena—the biggest in the UK—and two high rise projects represent what council leader Richard Leese describes as ‘a remarkable statement of confidence in Manchester at a time of major national economic uncertainty’, that will create ‘real jobs, real homes and real opportunities for Manchester people’.

But it’s not only the city’s property market that sets it apart. Its buoyant economy is bolstered by its reputation as a place to do business and as a melting pot for innovation. Here we explore why Manchester is amongst Europe’s most prosperous cities...

Economy and business

Nicknamed Europe’s ‘economic boomtown’, Manchester city centre economy is forecast to be worth more than £6bn annually by 2025. Meanwhile, across the Greater Manchester region, annual growth of 4.3% is forecast, compared to the national rate of 3.6%.

Manchester’s reputation beyond UK shores is also one of prosperity. Recent figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research show that it’s growing faster than both the UK and the European Union, by quite some way. The findings suggest that the city’s GVA could be rising anywhere between 5% to 7% annually.

This growth is marked by the city’s business clout, with Manchester home to 23,845 enterprises, including 85 of the FTSE 100 Businesses who have pinpointed Manchester as a key city for business strategy. With the endorsement of some of the world’s biggest names in business, the city has seen a 58% increase in registered enterprises, up 15,060 since 2014, and is also a hotbed for ambitious start-ups, having already produced five so-called ‘unicorns’; Boohoo, AO.com, AutoTrader, The Hut Group and Onthebeach.com.

Tech and innovation

Manchester has a history of innovation. The city led the way in the industrial revolution and as a result experienced rapid urban growth in the early 19th century. Today, the city has grasped the opportunity once again to pioneer, this time in the tech sector.

Recently crowned the fastest growing tech city in Europe, Manchester is seen as a game changer, a breeding ground for new and established tech talent and innovation, and the viable alternative to London. According to Tech Nation’s 2020 report, investment in the city’s tech industry grew from £48m in 2019 to £181m in 2019, a 277% increase. And with the continued influx of tech businesses and institutions looking for the piece of the action—including digital security giants GCHQ—that trend looks set to continue.

Notably, the city was awarded a £3m innovation fund by Greater Manchester Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The grant will continue to stimulate innovation during a period of uncertainty, safeguarding Manchester’s reputation as the tech capital of Europe.


It’s unsurprising that Manchester’s commercial and residential property landscape has evolved alongside its business and economic success as demand for offices and homes skyrockets thanks to the city’s reputation as a destination to live, work and play.

The city’s skyline has changed dramatically over the last 60 years with the development of major schemes such as CIS Tower, Arndale House, Beetham Tower. More recently, the likes of the iconic AXIS have forever changed how Manchester is viewed, transforming its once unassuming skyline into a cosmopolitan vision of the future. And Manchester isn’t done yet; a number of high-profile schemes are already underway to continue its growth, including Oxygen in the up and coming Piccadilly area, on the border of Ancoats and New Islington.

According to Deloitte’s Manchester Crane Survey 2020, the total number of units completed in the city in 2019 is at the highest level since 2006, with an anticipated pipeline of 8,800 for 2020. 2019 was also the third-highest year on record for schemes completed in Manchester.

Unquestionably one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing destinations in Europe, Manchester city centre will continue to be a magnet for investment in the coming years. For more information about why you should invest in Manchester buy to let property, contact us today >>

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